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Platinum Powers Hydrogen Technology Advances for Cleaner Energy Future

SherLOHCk Project Makes Hydrogen Transport Efficient and Cost-Effective

by Adenike Adeodun

Platinum continues to play a crucial role in advancing liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC) technology. This technology aims to make hydrogen transport and storage more efficient and competitive. The international SherLOHCk project, which includes South Africa, is driving this progress.

Hydrogen, a clean and sustainable energy carrier, produces only water as an emission. SherLOHCk’s goal is to lower the costs and energy requirements for catalytic reactions in hydrogen transport. Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies, part of South Africa-linked AP Ventures, has developed a method to bind hydrogen to oil, making transport cheaper and safer under ambient conditions.

The SherLOHCk project, backed by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership and the European Union, focuses on creating cost-effective, eco-friendly catalysts. These catalysts enhance hydrogenation and dehydrogenation processes. Tests have shown a low-platinum-content bimetallic catalyst to be promising. Advances in reactor design and thermal management have reduced overall energy consumption in the LOHC system. Initial tests of a scaled-up LOHC technology demonstration system have shown promising results.

Environmental-impact assessments indicate that LOHC technology is both economically viable and environmentally friendly. These advancements are crucial for the future of green energy, addressing the logistical challenges of hydrogen storage and transport.

Hydrogen is poised to make solar and wind energy transportable on a global scale. The storage density of hydrogen in LOHC is up to five times higher than conventional high-pressure storage. A cubic meter of LOHC can carry about 57 kg of hydrogen. This increases transport capacities on trucks, trains, ships, and planes, reducing the total cost of hydrogen supply to customers.

Hydrogenious, based in Germany, has developed a safe method for storing and transporting hydrogen by chemically binding it to oil through LOHC. The carrier oil is readily available, non-toxic, and remains liquid across a broad temperature range. This makes it possible to use existing global fuel infrastructure for LOHC transport. The technology is based on a reversible catalytic hydrogenation and dehydrogenation process. After hydrogen release, the carrier can be reused multiple times.

Strong partnerships are key to enabling a global green hydrogen economy. Companies like MAN Energy Solutions and Frames are involved in constructing large-scale industrial plants. Strategic partners and investors include Royal Vopak, Covestro, and Mitsubishi Corporation.

Dr. Daniel Teichmann, CEO of Hydrogenious, recently received a gold medal in the Netherlands for promoting platinum-based hydrogen. He stated, “We’ve developed an efficient and completely safe method for storing and transporting hydrogen by chemically binding the hydrogen molecules to an easy-to-handle oil, through LOHC.”

The South African government supports hydrogen technology through research and development initiatives led by Hydrogen South Africa (HySA). The Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition is creating special economic zones to incentivize local manufacturing. The Industrial Development Corporation and Public Investment Corporation have also invested in the hydrogen economy. Anglo American Platinum has matched a R1.3-billion investment in AP Ventures, a venture capital fund focusing on the hydrogen value chain, fuel cell electric mobility, and energy storage markets.

Hydrogen technology advancements, supported by platinum, are paving the way for a sustainable energy future. The progress made by projects like SherLOHCk and companies like Hydrogenious shows a promising path forward. As hydrogen becomes more viable for global transport and storage, the potential for a cleaner, greener energy landscape grows.


Source: Mining Weekly

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